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Physical sciences/Physics/Mechanics/Classical mechanics/Kinetics/Inertia

by Bert Richard Johannes Bolin

The author is the former chairman of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) and the recipient of the 1998 AAAS International Scientific Cooperation Award. This speech was delivered at the CAIP Annual Luncheon Meeting on February 15th during the 1998 AAAS Annual Meeting in Philadelphia, PA

Cat-and dog-owners already know that their beloved animals are completely different from each other, but scientists now have more evidence that relates to how our furry friends lap up liquids. While dogs plunk their tongues in water to scoop it up and fill their cheeks, cats use two physical forces—gravity and inertia—to delicately suck up liquids with just the tip of their tongue. Much like elephant trunks and octopus arms, cat’s tongues are remarkably agile given the lack of skeletal support. Therefore, the findings may provide new inspiration for soft robotics technology.